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Kate reviews: Pembroke Bar & Kitchen 

Pembroke Bar & Kitchen 

147 Union Rd, Surrey Hills

pembrokebar.com.au

Click PLAY below to hear Kate’s review on 3AW Breakfast

I love discovering a new strip, and recently Melbourne’s been doing them well.

More gift shops, wine bars, cafes, restaurants in our suburban streets.

Could it be that we really will never have to leave our little villages again? Probably not, but we can dream. And we can enjoy the newcomers as they pop up.

One of the newcomers is Pembroke Bar & Kitchen, and it has popped up in the leafy eastern suburb of Surrey Hills.

This is a new strip for me, Union Road, and I immediately liked it.

The was a wine bar, The Hills; a decent bottle-o; a bakery, some cafes – and now an all-day dining option in Pembroke Bar and Kitchen.

The pedigree is good. The kitchen is headed up by former Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria sous chef, Christos Milionis.

The owners have had successful takeaway ventures, and a restaurant in Adelaide.

It’s a lovely modern fit out. Three of us sat in a corner with comfy banquette seating.

The welcome was warm, our waiter explained the menu. It’s based around the concept of sharing.

I shuffle in my seat a bit here. Something has been creeping up on me.

I fear I may be tiring of the sharing concept a little. Or it might be that the idea of sharing has changed somehow.

I guess it’s subjective – between how many people? Because if it can’t be shared between three or four people, are you better off just ordering the things you really want to eat?

As it turned out here, given there were three of us – some of the smaller plates for me were tough to dish out between a trio.

That said, thought, they would have been lovely as an entrée for one – which is probably how I’d order if I returned.

We started with snacks, the mushroom croquette with truffle aioli was rich, gooey, and tasty – packed with porcini mushrooms and parmesan.

There was a lovely dish of beetroot, green beans, creamy goat milk and pistachio, great value at $12, but again, not so easily shared purely because of its size. Could easily have devoured it to myself.

I loved the octopus – it had been sous vide for four hours, then grilled over charcoal coals. A little smoky but still tender with fiery harissa and and sour notes from from the scordalia (traditional Greek potato and garlic aioli), But again, due to the size of the tentacle it simply didn’t work between three, probably fine were there only two of us.

Get onto the large plates and it’s smooth sailing. Couldn’t go past the braised goat. Nice and tender, it was braised in the oven for two and a half hours with fennel, orange and rosemary. Those cooking liquids are reserved to go with the chickpeas, and there’s some cavolo nero for good measure.

The real surprise packet, though, was the gnocchi with burnt carrot. We loved it, nearly came to blows over it. Creamy and sweet, it looked pretty humble on the plate but seriously packed a punch.

There was a good, varied wine list here.

We drank a bottle of a quaffable Spanish Tempranillo at a very fair $45.

The bones are definitely there for Pembroke Bar & Kitchen.

A few service issues aside, there were some lovely flavours in the food we ordered and I love that they regularly change their menu – already this week you’ll find additions like Burrata, green pepper, & crouton and a gorgeous sounding tortelli with cauliflower, sage, & goat’s cheese.

On return, I reckon I’d grab myself a croquette, order the octopus as an entree and that gorgeous gnocchi as a main, share a side with someone and that’d just about do me.

And bring on the evolution of the suburban strip!

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